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Discussion in 'The BS Topic' started by mudtrux, Aug 8, 2010.
Pics of prototype?
You may also want to check whether the existing product has any rights preventing you from improving on it?? just a thought
I haven't read what everyone else has posted. But first things first...patented the idea. Probably run you about $16,000+ to get a patent on it.
After that, you can either sell the patent to the company, or sell usage rights to it. If the patent can be applied elsewhere, you can sell exclusive rights to one company in their market...and sell exclusive rights to another company in another market. All depends on the patent.
Here is the thing about patents though. If someone does use your idea:
A) You have to find out they are using it
B) You have to get proof they are using it
C) You have to get a lawyer to take them to court on it
Patents say the government will stand behind you if you go to court...not that the government will go to court for you. Its up to the patent holder to protect their intellectual property.
A little off topic, but gun manufacturers go to great lengths trying to keep chinese people from stealing gun designs. They go to big trade shows, take measurements, pictures, whatever else they can. Sometimes they get a gun out, based on an american prototype, before the "actual" gun comes to market here. I have seen it many times.
I am sure it is a billion times worse for the "litle guy."
What I found is that if you have a genuinely new concept or way of doing something..then you get a wider latitude for the patent. If you take an existing product and make an incremental improvement, then you are limited to the exactness of your change. For instance, in the Bicycle biz, suspension was not able to be patented because it was developed 100 years ago. However, the companies were able to patent different approaches to making the suspension work well. There are a lot of protections here because there are only so many way to pivot the swing arm. But within a given design..there have been incremental improvements. Usually, a manufacturer will pay a royalty on the basic design, and then patent their special version of it. usually, patent disputes revolve around really minor points where one company tries to work around the design of another to avoid the royalty. Honestly, its tough to make ANY patent where the fundamental concept is already established..if you have an incremental improvement..chances are someone else already has it. You can't patent the concept of a V-8 engine....but you can patent something like the angle between the banks if you can show a difference from an earlier design. Chevy owned patents on V-8's in 1 degree increments for pushrod V-8's. Companies do this to protect themselves from someone else taking their design and making a small change to dodge the patent.
When I did my design..it was a total departure from the standard for the time. There are bike co's that have never patented their designs...and haven't for 40 years! They came up with a concept, applied for patent protection, allowing them to use 'pat.pend'. This gives them a wide protection because the final design hasn't been submitted yet. So then the company makes an incremental change and renews the application..so on and so on and they never actually get the final patent. Campagnolo is famous for this. Almost all their stuff is patent pending.
I wish I knew then what I know now. I'd be living on the North Shore of Oahu in a glass-front house watching the sun rise over the Pacific.
There's a good article about Smokey Yunick in Hot Rod mag. Read it, pretty interesting stuff.